The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children & Families that will be used to train staff, parents, and others working with children from birth to 5 years old who have experienced trauma.
DCCECE will get the first round of funding for the five-year grant in 2019, and will use it to help streamline the work in Arkansas on “adverse childhood experiences,” which include abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction (alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, mental illness).
According to results of a federally-funded National Survey of Children’s Health, 1 in 7 children in Arkansas experience three or more adverse childhood experiences compared to the national average of 1 in 10.
“Young children in Arkansas are experiencing trauma at an alarming rate, and it is critically important that we train early childhood staff and others to help children process and overcome these traumas,” said DCCECE Director Tonya Williams.
“The early years are a crucial time in childhood development. The more we can to do help these children early in life, the more likely they will have improved outcomes in school and life,” she added.
Through the grant, DCCECE will work to educate individuals at the professional and community level on understanding trauma, including the long-term health outcomes of those who experience prolonged toxic stress.
DCCECE also will engage others working in this space, collaborating with partners, and examining existing programs.